Entries in Strike (19)


Israel Ordered Iran Strike Preparations in 2010, Says New Report

Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israel's foreign intelligence agency and military were ordered in 2010 by the country's top civilian leadership to prepare for a strike on Iran, a report out Monday says.

The investigative report by Israeli television's Channel 2, which airs Monday night, says that when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered that Israel be put on a war footing, their intelligence chief accused them of "stealing a decision to go to war."

As a security briefing attended by Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Mossad chief Meir Dagan ended, Netanyahu is reported to have ordered them to raise the security forces to the pre-attack level of "P-Plus."

"This is not something you do if you are not sure you want to end up with a military operation," Ashkenazi is said to have responded, adding that the preparation would create "facts on the ground" that could lead to war. "This accordion produces music when you play with it."

Dagan was blunter with his bosses, according to the report. "You may be making an illegal decision to go to war," he said, since the full security cabinet has to declare war.

"The [Prime Minister] and Defense Minister simply tried to steal a decision to go to war," he said.

This is the first public account of the disagreement, though both Ashkenazi and Dagan have publicly criticized the prospect of a strike on Iran's nuclear program since they stepped down from their posts, Dagan in late 2010, Ashkenazi in 2011. Dagan has called it "a stupid thing."

In an interview with Channel 2, Barak confirmed that the order was made to raise the readiness to P-Plus but denied it meant war was inevitable. He accused Ashkenazi of saying the IDF didn't have the operational capability.

"A chief of staff needs to build the operational capacity, he should tell us professionally if we can operate or not and he can and should give his recommendation, but an operation can go through even if he opposes it," Barak said.

Ashkenazi responded: "I prepared for the option, the army was ready to attack, but I also said that an attack would be a strategic mistake."

It is unclear when exactly the episode took place and of course a strike never happened. In an interview last week with The Daily Telegraph, Barak said that Iran had avoided a "moment of truth" over this past summer by using a third of its enriched uranium for civilian research. Iran insists all of its enriched uranium is for civilian purposes.

Like Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly in September, Barak added that Iran would reach a "red line" of enriched uranium by next spring or summer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greek Workers to Protest New Austerity Measures, Call for Strike

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) -- Workers in Greece have called for a strike.  
The country's two main unions, ADEDY and GSEE, covering civil servants and the private sector, respectively, have called for a two-day strike to begin on Nov. 6. The workers called the demonstration, which will take place in central Athens, in objection to new austerity measures worth $17.5 billion. Lawmakers are set to vote on the bill next week.

The decision to strike comes as lawmakers already have approved a bill allowing the privatization of public utilities in a vote that saw dissent from members of the two junior partners in the three-party governing coalition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Miners' Strike Threatens South African Economy

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JOHANNESBURG) -- The price of the precious metal platinum is up 20 percent in the past month and is expected to rise even more now that the world's largest platinum producer suspended operations at a mine in South Africa. It comes after a tense standoff Wednesday between police and thousands of workers on strike demanding better pay.  

The Anglo American Platinum mine is near another major platinum mine -- the Lonmin Marikana mine -- where 34 people died when police shot at a crowd of armed protestors in August.  It's being called the "Marikana Massacre" in South Africa, and since then labor unrest has spread and now threatens the country's gold industry.  

Police used tear gas Wednesday to disperse a crowd of striking miners at a Gold Fields mine west of Johannesburg.  Workers there are now demanding the same pay increase as the striking platinum miners.  Gold Fields is the world's fourth-largest gold producer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: US War Game Points to Drawbacks of Attacking Iran

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- American officials familiar with a recent classified war simulation exercise carried out by Central Command in the Middle East are reportedly concerned that the U.S. would be drawn into a wider war in the region if Israel goes ahead and attacks Iran to wipe out its nuclear program.

The two-week test was intended to only get a handle on the U.S. military capabilities to respond to such a crisis, not to rehearse a possible military strike if it came to that, The New York Times reports, citing officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But the outcome of the exercise suggests that it would be almost unavoidable for American forces not to get directly involved, which could immediately lead to the loss of hundreds of lives on Navy warships that are stationed in the region.

It's believed that a preemptive strike by Israel would push back Iran's nuclear program by a year, and if joined by American firepower, perhaps by two years, according to the Times.  However, if President Obama should order a full-scale strike, Iran's nuclear program could be significantly damaged.

The administration has already said it prefers to settle the matter through sanctions and diplomatic means while cautioning Israel about the unknowable repercussions of what could happen if it decides to move ahead unilaterally.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US, West Want Israel to Hold Off on Attacking Iran

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Israel has more to lose than any other nation should Iran stock nuclear weapons.  Hence, there's been a lot of talk about the Israelis launching a preemptive military strike to eliminate this threat.

President Obama and other Western leaders have made it clear to Israel to hold off on attacking Iran until tough new sanctions that are supposed to hit at the heart of the Iranian's oil shipping business are given time to work.

The level of concern that Israel might act unilaterally has reached the point where several high-level U.S officials have either spoken or will speak to Israeli leaders to have patience, including National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is siding more with the hawks in the Israeli Cabinet about launching a preemptive strike, is due in Washington next week for talks with President Obama.

Israel taking action of this kind is not unprecedented.  In 1981, its military knocked out an unfinished reactor outside Baghdad, and in 2007, Israel destroyed a partially constructed nuclear reactor in Syria.

Doing the same in Iran will be more difficult, since the Iranians have several facilities hidden --  including one built into a mountain.

The chief concern is that if the Israelis are unsuccessful, it would trigger a missile attack by the Iranians that could strike deep within the country.

Instability in the Middle East would also roil world markets and send the price of oil skyrocketing everywhere.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Israeli President Reaches Out to Iranian People

Uriel Sinai/Getty Image(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres delivered a message to the people of Iran Wednesday, calling for peace and understanding.

Peres' olive branch comes as the Iranian government has not been deterred from its goal of the destruction of Israel, while the Israeli government has made no secret about possibly launching a preemptive strike to knock out Iran's nuclear program once and for all.

Yet, Peres' remarks to the Israeli parliament on its 63rd anniversary was a refreshing change of pace compared to the constant saber rattling that has underscored the enmity Israel and Iran have had for each other since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that deposed the Shah of Iran.

Peres said, "We were not born enemies and there is no need to live as enemies.  Do not allow the flags of hostility to cast a dark shadow over your historic heritage.  Your people are a sensitive people that aspire for friendship and peace, and not for conflicts and wars."

On the other hand, Peres let Iran's leaders have it right between the eyes, "Iran is not only a threat for Israel, it constitutes a real danger to humanity as a whole.  The present Iranian regime is Imperialism-hungry, aspiring to be the region's supreme ruler."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iran: We Can Hit Back at Any US Interests if Attacked

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- In one of its most ominous threats made against America, Iran is claiming that it can attack U.S. interests with impunity in response to any strike made against its country.

The boast came from Iranian ambassador Seyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi, who was visiting Moscow on Wednesday.

According to the Iranian envoy, "Iran is fully able to deliver retaliatory strikes on the United States anywhere in the world."

Sajjadi insisted that his government would never be the aggressor but if Iran were to be attacked, "We have a list of counter actions.  [The United States] would be disappointed with their huge mistake."

There has been speculation recently that Israel is considering a possible military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities as early as April.

However, President Obama went on record to downplay that scenario, saying the U.S. is asking Israel to allow diplomacy and various sanctions to run their course before resorting to more drastic steps.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


House Intel Chair: Israel Attack on Iran Would Harm US National Security

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As United States and Israel grow increasingly concerned over Iran’s nuclear program, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is cautioning that a pre-emptive strike by Israel could spell trouble for America.

“If Israel does a unilateral strike, this could be a real problem for the national security interests of the United States,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

This statement comes days after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed concern that Israel would bomb Iran in an unattributed comment run in a column in the Washington Post.  Panetta, while not directly quoted by the columnist, has not denied the accuracy of the column, and the general consensus is that Panetta does believe Israel is ready to bomb Iran.  Rogers said recent tension between the United States and Israel has led to a breakdown of trust when it comes to dealing with Iran.

“Israel has been a little bit distrustful of the United States and I think that’s caused a little bit of friction,” Rogers said.

Iran caused a stir in January when it announced that it had enriched the country’s first nuclear fuel rod.  Those rods could be used to create a nuclear weapon.  The International Atomic Energy Agency also released a report in November that suggested Iran is making progress in its program to create nuclear weapons.

While U.S. leaders have shown continued restraint when talking about Iran, the public largely supports military action against Iran. According to a December 2011 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll,  54 percent of Americans said that they would support attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities, while 38 percent said that we should not.

For now, the United States and several of its allies have imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran.  Rogers said he believes the sanctions are having a real impact.

“It’s working in the sense that it is affecting every sector of their economy,” he said.  “It’s impacting average Iranians in their daily lives.  Inflation is just rampant.  The fact that they’re having a hard time getting access to currency for transactions is starting to be a real problem.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UK Public Workers Stage Massive Strike over Pension Changes

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The U.K. is facing a massive strike by public sector workers on Wednesday who are angry with the government over changes to their pensions.

The walkout has been deemed one of the biggest industrial actions taken in the U.K. in a generation.  Some two million workers have walked off the job, closing thousands of schools and forcing the cancellation of non-emergency surgeries and treatments at hospitals.

However, the large disruption that was predicted to occur at local airports has failed to materialize so far, since contingency plans were put in place.

Unions are protesting plans that would make workers have to work longer and pay more in order to receive their pensions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Santorum Calls for ‘Preemptive Strike’ if Iran's Developing Nuke Arms

Steve Pope/Getty Images(NEW BOSTON, N.H.) -- Rick Santorum said the United States should be open to a military strike to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“A country that is developing a weapon of mass destruction to use it to destroy another country must be stopped in a preemptive strike,” Santorum told a crowd of about 50 people in a rural part of New Hampshire Thursday evening.

This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran appeared to be developing nuclear weapons.

Santorum said that, if he is elected president, he would support pro-Democracy groups in Iran, and work closely with Israel to stop any Iranian nuclear program.

“Option number one is to work with the Israelis and plan to implement a military strategy to stop them [Iran],” Santorum said.  “I would work closely with our ally and make sure that the mission was accomplished and the world knows that we are this close to Israel.”

The former Pennsylvania Senator admitted that the country is “tired of war” and the “commitment that it takes,” but said the United States needs to focus on more than its economic problems.

“Everyone wants to focus on the economy,” Santorum said, “but we all know that the events of 9/11 and events like that make the economic problems that we’re dealing with right now very small, if we were engaged in a war with someone who would now be under protection from a nuclear shield.”

Santorum blamed both the Bush and Obama administrations for not being tougher on Iran in the past.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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